Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Thoughts 'n reflections

Had occasion last evening to meet and talk with Ed Crane, founder of the Cato Institute. Cato is a well respected think tank in DC that has as its mission the promotion of good old fashion liberty.

Liberty is one of those concepts that seems to elude most people today. People like to scream about their 'freedom' but seem perfectly happy to stand by and watch as the underpinnings of that freedom get whittled away to nothing. The liberties of free speech and expression and the right to keep and bear arms are probably the two most prominent liberties being eroded today, but the liberty to start and run a business without excessive state interference (i.e. licensing, fees and taxes) is all but gone. The liberty to decide how to save for your retirement has been gone since the New Deal. The liberty to keep what you earn, likewise, is about gone. These - and many others - are liberties which Americans don't seem to miss. Perhaps that is because they don't realize they ever possessed them in the first place.

Every time the government gets involved - or increases its involvement - in affairs that affect my life and how I live it, I (we) lose another little bit of my (our) liberty.

Responsibilities are the flip side of rights. Rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. Thus, if the government becomes so involved in our lives that we no longer have any individual responsibilities, we will no longer have need of any individual rights.

The problem is, for many people, being told what to do and how to do it is comforting and far preferable to having an opportunity to do as one pleases. This attitude is not the one that built America, rather it is the one that will accompany its decline and fall.


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